Titanic – A Fresh Look at the Evidence

Titanic – The Hidden Evidence contains startling new information about the Titanic sinking than many people who have not read the book. find hard to believe. As one person put it, “Just a conspiracy theory printed up which can be torn apart with quick actual research”.  The quick actual research in that person’s opinion would be checking the various websites on the Titanic sinking that reprint the classic story of the Titanic hitting an iceberg while going full speed and ignoring ice reports.

The author, John H. Wickman, is not a conspiracy theorist, but an experienced engineer who has been working on rockets and missile designs for over 45 years. He has worked on several highly classified Department of Defense projects over the years.  He is a specialist in failure analysis who goes where the evidence takes him. He applied the same investigative approach to the Titanic by looking at the original drawings, documentation, New York lawsuit court records and testimony, U.S. Senate hearings, British hearings, physical evidence, and visual evidence which in the case of the Titanic is eyewitnesses. He spent almost 8 years gathering information and going over it all. High Definition videos plus still photographs of the wreckage were examined by Wickman. It took almost a year alone to read all the major U.S and U.K. newspaper articles on the Titanic from the time of its sinking until years afterward.

Wickman presents his findings in the form of a historical narrative from the time Captain Smith is in command of the Olympic through the end of the U.S. Senate Hearings. The first third of the book covers the Titanic sinking as it actually happened based on the evidence while the rest of the book details Senator Smith slowly uncovering the truth.

Here is a sample of the supporting information for a few of the new findings in Titanic – The Hidden Evidence.

1) The Titanic’s senior wireless operator saw an iceberg off to the side of the Titanic 10 minutes before the accident as he delivered the Californian’s last ice message to the bridge.

The Titanic struck an iceberg at approximately 11:40 pm. A little after 11 pm, the wireless operator on the Californian, Mr. Evans, sent the following message to the Titanic, “Say, old man, we are stopped and surrounded by ice”. The message was received by Mr. Phillips, the senior wireless operator on the Titanic who promptly replied, “Shut up, shut up, I am busy; I am working Cape Race”. Evans listened to see if Phillips would replay further but soon heard Phillips begin working the wireless station at Cape Race again to retransmit a previous message.

The conventional Titanic storyline is that Phillips never delivered the Californian’s message to the Titanic’s bridge. Phillips did not survive the Titanic sinking so there is no record of him clearing up this point directly, but the junior operator, Mr. Harold Bride, did survive and gave an interview to the New York Times (see below) on the night of his arrival in New York Harbor. Phillips told Bride what he was doing prior to the collision. Bride said in the interview, “It was ten minutes, Phillips told me, after he noticed the iceberg, but the slight jolt was the only signal to us that a collision had occurred. We thought we were a good distance away.” 



There is no window in the wireless room or in the corridor outside of the wireless room as shown in the figure below. The only way Phillips could have seen an iceberg would be from the bridge or on the way to the bridge.  Phillips also says, “We thought we were a good distance away”. This means the iceberg seen by Phillips was not the one they hit at 11:40 pm and the use of the term “we” suggests that the Titanic bridge crew and officers saw it as well.


Titanic floor plan showing the wireless room (Circled in red)

2) The Titanic was only going half speed or less at the time of the accident, not full speed as widely believed.

The senior wireless operator saw an iceberg 10 minutes before the accident along with entire bridge crew, officers and lookouts. That was not the iceberg the Titanic hit so there were at least two, but were there more? The April 25, 1912 issue of The Sun (New York) quotes the captain of the Frankfurt, a ship steaming towards the Titanic. “We started immediately for the scene and arrived there about 10 o’clock Monday morning. We saw the iceberg with which the Titanic collided, a huge bulk about 100 feet above the water and about 1,000 feet long. We photographed the berg and after cruising about searching vainly for survivors for several hours we resumed our course.” said Captain Hattorff. The article goes on to say, “Officers on the Frankfurt declared that as the Titanic must have passed through huge fields of ice before she struck the berg she should have been warned and should have proceeded cautiously.” Every sea captain of the day stated that they would slow down to no faster than half speed with icebergs visible around their ship. With a lot of field ice and icebergs, they would have gone even slower.

There is no doubt that the Titanic knew the ice field was in front of it. Ice had been predicted to be that area before it even left port in England. The April 24, 1912 issue of the New York Tribune had an interview with the captain of the Greek liner Athinai. The captain stated that 11 hours before the Titanic collision, his ship sent out an ice report describing large icebergs and icefields right on the path the Titanic was taking (see figure below). The captain described one iceberg as having the shape of the Rock of Gibraltar. Many Titanic survivors described the iceberg the Titanic hit as having that same shape. 

The captain of the Titanic knew before he left England that ice was going to be in his path and had received ice reports en route to New York showing ice was indeed in his path. We know that Titanic wireless operator, Phillips, saw an iceberg 10 minutes before the collision and he could only have seen it by leaving the wireless room and going outside. If he saw it, the bridge crew and officers saw it as well. The common practice of the day was to slow down when ice was spotted.

On March 18, 1915, in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, Einar Johannsen gave testimony in the liability case against the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, Limited which owned the Titanic. Mr. Johannsen had a Master’s Certificate, which is the highest grade of seafarer qualification. It represents the highest level of professional qualification amongst mariners and deck officers. He stated the following: 

Question: What would you say as to the common practice in your experience with meeting icebergs in the North Atlantic Ocean as to navigating when icebergs are expected ahead on a dark night?

Answer: Always to slow down and careful and keep a good look out on a dark night. Would very seldom go full speed. I have never been on any ship going full speed. But in the morning, when daylight came, we can go full speed.

Some of the Titanic survivors noted vibrations an hour or two before the iceberg collision at 11:40 pm that night. The survivors and most people today believe this was an indication that the Titanic was going full speed. Actually, the vibration shows the Titanic was not going full speed. The Titanic’s engines used the Yarrow, Schlick Tweedy system to minimize vibration, but this reduction in vibration at full speed actually increased vibration at other speeds as noted in the Engineering Magazine, 1903, Volume 25, page 107, “It is sufficient to state here that in important examples the second period vibrations are found to be more important than those of the first period and more over the attempts to secure a balancing by the Yarrow Schlick Tweedy system of the first period vibrations resulted in a marked increase in those of the second and higher periods.”

Experienced sailors of the day knew increased vibration on a ship meant slower speeds. Einar Johannsen testified to this effect during the New York lawsuit against White Star. He talks about a ship he was on that expecting ice during the night. He was not on duty and was in his cabin during the night.

Question: Did you stay up all night; were you afraid of it

Answer: No. But I was lying awake very often during the night and I could hear the ship when slowing down, when going slow or half speed.

Question: But you did not know what the telegraph said about changing speed. (See figure below for typical ship’s telegraph)

Answer: No.  I did not know whether half or slow speed, or whatever steam they cut down to. I should say she was going about half.

Question:  That was the only trip you made on the “Bergensfjord”?

Answer: Yes.

Question: So that you do not know who the “Bergensfjord” vibrates at different speeds?

Answer: Not exactly. When she went full speed she was quiet.

Question: Less vibration? You could not tell what she was going at?

Answer: I could not tell, but I got experience from many steamers, that did slow down. I traveled on many.  If going half speed she does not shake much. 

Question: Were you ever on a ship that shook most at certain speeds different from slow? Do you think every ship that you have been on shakes the most at slow speed?

Answer: I think they shake most at slow speed.

Question: Any you think they shake less at full speed?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Do they shake any when stopped?

Answer: No. I don’t think that all steamers are alike. Some steamers shake much and some don’t shake much.

Question: They differ – all steamers are different?

Answer: Yes.

Question: You said that some time during the night you passed an iceberg?

Answer: Yes, we passed one.

Question: Did you get up to see it?

Answer: I did not see it; somebody told me about it.

Question: How much of the time did you remember that the ship was shaking this way, so that you thought she was going slowly?

Answer: I could feel the shaking about eight o’clock at night and then could hear the telegraph and I walked on deck and could see the sign. I was up in the night and heard the telegraph.

Question: How long did she shake that way?

Answer: She was shaking all night to the late in the morning.

Question: Were you awake all night?

Answer: No, I did sleep. I would wake up and fall asleep again. At four o’clock I was on deck.

Question: At six?

Answer: At four, and then they were going half speed or slow, or —-

Question: You don’t know what rate they were going?

Answer: No, but they were not going full speed up to six o’clock. They were going full speed when I fell asleep.

Question: But you slept during the night?

Answer: Yes.

Question: You have no idea how you were going when you were asleep?

Answer: No, but I don’t think they could go full speed a few hours and then slow down and go full speed a few hours again because she was shaking in the evening about twelve o’clock and also when I went out on the deck she was shaking. I slept during the night and I thought she was going half or slow.

Question: You just base your judgment on what you felt during your waking moments?

Answer: Yes.

The last piece of evidence that is used to falsely show the Titanic was going full speed is testimony from Mr. Fred Barrett who was in Titanic’s Boiler Room Six. He told Senator Smith that the telegraph in the boiler room (See figure below) was set to full. He testified that this meant the Titanic was going full speed. His statement gave the false impression to Senator Smith and others that the Boiler Room Six telegraph was directly connected to the telegraph on the bridge. It was not.



What the telegraph in the boiler room signaled was “Full Steam”, not “Full Speed”. The telegraph on the bridge was connected to telegraphs on the platforms located by each of the Titanic engines. Based on the telegraph command from the bridge, the ship’s engineers would signal each individual boiler room telegraph as to the amount of steam they wanted to fulfill the command from the bridge. 

It was not unusual for a ship to be going half speed while the boiler room telegraph would be showing “Full”.  The reason for this was to keep full steam for a “full astern” command if the ship had to stop suddenly. With full steam available, the ship could stop much faster than if only half steam was available. Full steam would also be useful if the ship were going slow and wanted to use the engines to help steer. In that situation, one engine would be set for forward and the other engine in reverse to help steer the ship more sharply around an object.  With full steam, the ship could turn much sharper than with only half steam. Mr. Einar Johannsen commented on this as well during his testimony in the New York lawsuit.

Question: What do you think you ought to slow down to on a night what was dark and where the sea was calm. Where you expected to meet ice?

Answer: I would slow down to half speed and if I did not slow down I would put another lookout up — be ready at any to slow down, keeping steam on top.

Mr. Johannsen’s reference to “keeping steam on top” was to keep the steam at full, which meant boiler room telegraphs would show full, while the ship’s speed was actually half.

3) The Titanic sailed to America with unfinished rooms, missing equipment and watertight doors that did not always close.

Most people are unaware that the Titanic was not finished when it left Harland and Wolff facilities in Belfast. One of the surviving fireman, John Thompson, told The Sun (April 23, 1912 issue) newspaper in New York city that many workmen, electrical fitters, carpenters, plumbers, and machinists boarded the Titanic in Belfast and stayed on board when it arrived in Southampton. They continued working on the ship for the entire 10 days it was in the harbor and continued working on the ship even after it left Southampton to start its voyage. He estimated that there had to be close to 100 workers. 

The unfinished state of the ship was confirmed by the ship’s designer, Mr. Thomas Andrews. Mrs. Henry Arthur Casebeer, Jr. was a Titanic survivor and gave an interview to the Binghamton Press (April 29, 1912 issue) where she commented on how the ship was unfinished. She said, “Another thing that is not generally known is that the Titanic was not ready to sail at the time she did. Mr. Andrews told me himself and said that the only reason they allowed her to go when they did was that the sailing date had already been fixed and they just simply had to start. While the ship was fitted up most sumptuously one could not help but notice that she was not prepared to sail.” 

An affidavit made by Imanita Shelley and sent to Senator Smith investigating the Titanic accident described how they were not given the room they had paid for since that room was not finished. She described the room she and her mother were first given. “That instead of being assigned to the accommodation purchased were taken to a small cabin many decks down in the ship, which was so small that it could only be called a cell. It was impossible to open a regulation steamer trunk in said cabin. It was impossible for a third person to enter said cabin unless both occupants, first of all, crawled into their bunks.”

After much complaining, they were finally moved to the room they had paid for. She described it to Senator Smith. “That this cabin, though large and roomy, was not furnished in the comfortable manner as the same accommodation procured on the Cunard and other lines, that it looked in a half-finished condition, that this room was just as cold as the cell from which we had just been removed, and on asking the steward to have the heat turned on, he answered that it was impossible, as the heating system for the second class cabins refused to work. That of all the second class cabins, only three, the three first cabins to be reached by the heat, had any heat at all, and that the heat was so intense there that the occupants had complained to the purser, who had ordered the heat shut off entirely. Consequently, the rooms were like ice houses all of the voyage.” When she was on the Carpathia she asked the third class passengers as to whether or not they had heat in their rooms. They said the heat was not working in their rooms either. Mrs. Shelley noted that the Titanic had other problems such as “in the ladies toilet room only part of the fixtures had been installed, some of the said fixtures being still in crates”. This led her to believe the ship was unfinished. Some passengers such as Colonel Warren Hitchens and Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Wilson traveling with their two daughters canceled their trip on the Titanic after seeing their poor accommodations and not the cabins they had booked. 

This would all be an interesting footnote to the Titanic accident if the unfinished aspects of the Titanic were just missing toilets, poor heat, and unfinished rooms, but there were more serious problems such as watertight doors that did not work. Senator Smith received an affidavit from Daisy Minahan who told him the following, “A stewardess who had been saved told me that after the Titanic left Southampton that there were a number of carpenters working to put the doors of the air-tight compartments in working order. They had great difficulty in making them respond and one of them remarked that they would be of little use in case of an accident because it took so long to make them work.” According to testimony given to Senator Smith by Mr. George Harder, those doors may not have been working when the Titanic as taking on water and sinking.

” I noticed about four or five men on this E Deck, and one of them had one of those T324 handled wrenches, used to turn some kind of a nut or bolt, and two or three of the other men had wrenches with them, Stillson wrenches or something like that. I did not take any particular notice, but I did notice this one man trying to turn this thing in the floor. There was a brass plate or something there.” said Harder.

“Was it marked WT?” asked Smith.

“Yes, it was marked WT, and I do not know whether it was a ‘D’ after that or something else. A few days before that, however, I noticed that brass plate, and naturally, seeing the initials, WT, I thought it meant watertight doors or compartments.”

“Was it in the floor?”


“On what deck?”

“On E deck. It was on the starboard side of the boat in the alleyway. I think this brass plate was situated between the stairs and the elevators. The stairs were right in front of the elevators and right in between there, I think, was this brass plate. We heard one of these men with the wrenches say, ‘Well, it’s no use. This one won’t work. Let’s try another one.’ They did not seem to be nervous at all so I thought at the time there was no danger, that they were just doing that for the sake of precaution.

4. The Titanic was already turning away from the iceberg when the lookout called the bridge to report an iceberg.

In every Titanic movie and documentary, the ship continues heading for the iceberg even after the lookout, Fleet, gives the warning by ringing the ship’s bell three times and calls the bridge to report an iceberg ahead. That is strictly Hollywood and does not match Fleet’s testimony to Senator Smith during the Titanic Senate hearings. Fleet testified that he rang the ship’s bell three times and then called the bridge on the telephone. He said they answered right away.

“Do you know whether the engines were reversed?” asked Senator Smith.

“Well, she started to go to port while I was at the telephone,” said Fleet.

“She started to go to port?”

“Yes, the wheel was put to starboard.”

“How do you know that?”

“My mate saw it and told me. He told me he could see the bow coming around.”

“They swung the ship’s bow away from the object?”

“Yes; because we were making straight for it.”

Contrary to popular belief, the Titanic was extremely maneuverable and responsive. Below is a picture of the Titanic after turning hard astarboard and after turning hard aport. As you can see by the wake of the ship, it makes 90 degree turns within a very short distance.



5) How the Titanic would have stayed afloat for at least 24 hours if not for the first hydrogen gas explosion.

The common perception is that the Titanic was going to sink in a couple of hours after the collision with the iceberg. The damage to the Titanic after the iceberg collision consisted of flooding in the Peak Tank, cargo holds one through three, Boiler Rooms Six and Five.  The water coming into Boiler Room Five was very minor and was easily handled by the Titanic’s pumps. If the water in Boiler Room Six could be pumped out at a rate sufficient to keep it dry, the Titanic would remain afloat indefinitely according to its designers. If just the rate of flooding in Boiler Room Six could be reduced by pumping water out, then the Titanic could be kept afloat for a much longer period of time than a few hours.

There are two accounts as to the rate the water was coming into Boiler Room Six. The account by Lead Fireman Fred Barrett is the one depicted in the movies where the side of the hull is ripped open and water pours in so fast that everyone has to scramble to get out of the boiler room. But Fireman George Beauchamp and the other fireman stayed at their stations in Boiler Room Six. In England, he gave testimony that he and the other firemen in Boiler Room Six raked out the coals in the boilers as the water came more gradually into the boiler room.

“After the watertight doors were closed, was any order given to you with regard to the fires?” asked Mr. Asquith.

“Yes, I could not say when – it was a few minutes afterwards; the order was given to draw the fires,” said Beauchamp.

In later questioning, he talked about the water coming into the boiler room.

“Did you see any water?” asked Mr. Asquith.

“Water was coming in on the plates when we were drawing the fires,” said Beauchamp.

“What do you mean by ‘the plates’?”

“The plates of the stokehold where you stand.”

“You mean where the stokers were standing?” asked Lord Mersey, the Commissioner for the inquiry.


“What happened then?”

“The water was just coming above the plates then.”

“You mean it was coming through the floor?” asked Mr. Asquith.

“Yes, coming through the bunker door and over the plates,” said Beauchamp.

“Through the bunker door?”

“Yes, coming through the bunker like.”

The bunker doors Beauchamp is referring to are the coal bunkers at each end of the boiler room, not the side of the ship in the boiler room. Beauchamp continued his testimony.

“When you had drawn the fires what did you do next?” asked Mr. Asquith.

“Waited till everything was shut down and an order was given. Someone shouted ‘that will do,’ when everything was safe when everything was shut down,” said Beauchamp.

“What did you do?”

“When the order was given someone shouted ‘that will do,’ and so I went to the escape ladder.”

Mr. Beauchamp was asked how long it took to draw the fires in the boilers.

“Can you say how long it took to draw the fires?” asked Mr. Asquith.

“I could not say how long it took, just the usual time; I could not say for certain,” said Beauchamp.

“What is the usual time – you have often done it, I suppose?”

“Yes, I have done it a good many times. Of course, it all depends what you have got in the fires as a Rule.”

“Can you say whether it took a few minutes or half-an-hour?”

“It took about a quarter of an hour, I suppose.”

This eyewitness account from Boiler Room Six shows that flooding was not as severe as commonly depicted or believed. This is further support by the accounts of other Titanic survivors. U.S. Congressman Hughs daughter, Mary, was returning on the Titanic after getting married. She gave an interview the night the Carpathia returned to a reporter from the Evening Herald (April 19, 1912 issue) in New York. “Captain Smith assured us there was no possible chance of the Titanic sinking, at least, not for two or three days,” she told the reporter. The belief that the captain believed the Titanic would not sink within a couple of hours is also supported by his comments to a sailor put in charge of a lifeboat.  Captain Smith told him to row to a ship they could see off in the distance at around eight miles away and then row back to pick up more passengers. Rowing to the other ship and back would have taken several hours assuming the rowboat could only travel at about three to four miles per hour. So the question becomes, what happened on the Titanic to shorten the initial sinking time estimate from days to hours.

The Titanic’s engineers did not know to turn off the electrical power to the submerged sections of the ship. This resulted in the electricity converting seawater into large quantities of explosive hydrogen and poisonous chlorine gas through a process called electrolysis. The video below shows what happened in a laboratory test simulating the Titanic’s electrical system submerged in seawater.

At some time during the sinking, a simple spark or flame ignited the hydrogen gas causing an explosion that blew a hole in the side of the ship. The explosion was very severe and actually moved the ship sideways.  In the April 19, 1912 issue of the New York Tribune, second class passenger, Emilio Portaluppi, told a reporter that when he arrived on deck there was general confusion. Shortly thereafter there was an explosion “and the great ship seemed to nearly turn around from the force of the explosion.” It turned out the explosion was on the starboard side of the ship on E deck at the gangway door. In the April 20, 1912 issue of the Hudson Observer, Elizabeth Dowdell described what she saw from lifeboat 13 that was lowered from the starboard side of the Titanic. “The iceberg was plainly visible from the lifeboat in which I was. In fact, we rowed towards it as soon as we could. It was about five stories in height, and at least a block square,” said Dowdell. Further, in the interview, she said, “When we rowed towards the towering ice mountain I looked and saw the gaping hole in the side of the big ship. The sea rushed in, in torrents.”

Looking at the Titanic wreckage (See figure below) shows a large hole centered around the Gangway door on Deck E. What really stands out is how the hull has bulged outward from an explosive blast. This bulge is not seen on the opposite side of the ship.



A closeup view of the hole (See figure below) shows the bulged area in more detail. You can also see how the decks inside are undeformed as an entire section of the E deck floor is missing as well as the deck plates above and below. The missing deck plates were blown away during the explosion. 



This is only a small portion of the new information on the Titanic sinking revealed in John H. Wickman’s book, Titanic – The Hidden Evidence. To buy your copy now, click on the Buy Now below.

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